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As part of Learnovate’s Meet the Patrons series, we speak to Carl Morrissey, Head of Marketing at Intuition, a leading global knowledge solutions company based in Dublin.
Established in 1985, Intuition provides customers with a range of knowledge management, including off-the-shelf content, such an extensive e-learning library for financial services; customised e-learning to meet the needs of individual clients; workshops in financial services and business skills, which can be delivered either virtually or in-person; and digital learning management systems, mobile apps and custom-built portals.
Carl earned his undergraduate degree in Business Studies from Dublin City University in 2010, after which he went on to join Spear Product Design as a Marketing Executive. Carl’s experience with the company would later provide the platform for him to join Intuition in 2013, first as a Marketing Executive before progressing to Marketing Manager and, in 2022, to his current role as Head of Marketing.
His role sees him work across many areas, including demand generation, social media marketing, and email marketing, while engaging global teams to build campaigns that fit clients’ specific needs.
What are the biggest lessons you learned in your career?
I’ve been working in corporates for 10-plus years and the key lesson for me is that there’s no perfect way to act within an organisation or company type. The only thing that matters is that you’re your authentic self. That’s important because, while there’s a lot of emphasis on terms like B2B, B2C, consumer marketing and consumer commerce, it always comes down to people and how you deal with them – your customers, users of your products, colleagues, superiors, and contemporaries. I’m a big believer that people sell to people, people get on with people, and I try to get that across in interviews with job candidates and junior people who join the team. They need to have a razor-sharp focus on that. I tell them: mind how you deal with people and show off your personality.
What was the best advice you ever received?
My first job out of college was with a small product design company. The team constituted of myself, a couple of product designers, and the managing director. What always stuck with me is the idea of replacing B2B and B2C with H2H – human to human. It’s become something of a cliché since, but I really believe it is the key to succeeding in business.
A piece of advice I’d give would be that there’s huge benefit to starting your career in a small business, because you’re always people-facing and you will be thrown into the deep end. My title when I started at the product design company was Marketing Executive, but I was executive of everything – selling, prospecting, and supporting. I was getting the 360 view, rather than if I’d gone into a large company where I would have been immediately siloed. It was hugely advantageous. It shaped me, in terms of my professionalism, but also my outlook on the world in corporate sense.
How would you define your work style and how has this changed over your career?
In the early days, you’re trying to figure things out. You think that there’s one way of doing things and you must be very rigid. I also experienced a lot of imposter syndrome, like everyone around me has it figured out and I was just ambling my way through. The reality was that everyone was in the same boat. How my style has changed is that I’ve become more relaxed about my deliveries. We have targets, of course, but I feel I work well in a relatively low pressure but collaborative environment. I try to impart that on my team, and it works quite well in terms of the culture at the company. There are multiple ways to deliver a project and finding the way that most suits the needs of your team, organisation, and yourself is important.
What have you learned about managing teams and individuals?
I became a manager in Intuition after three years and I felt that it came naturally to me, in so far as I’m a decent communicator and I made sure that anyone on my team, or surrounding my team, knew my ethos: there are no stupid questions. If you’re worried about sounding silly, don’t be. A culture of collaboration is really important to me and I make sure that everyone works together on what we do. My management style is based on principals of communication, collaboration, teamwork, and supportiveness. If things go wrong, we work it out together. There are few things worse in a workplace than a culture of punishment and fear, which personally I don’t think are very good motivators.
How has AI impacted your organisation/industry?
On my team, we use AI for basic admin but nothing business critical. It has freed up time within the marketing team for individuals to focus more on their creative outputs, the things that add value to clients and the organisation as whole. As we move forward, AI will allow a lot of organisations to continue fine-tuning those creative elements rather than spending time on admin and other task-heavy jobs. That’s not just an EdTech thing. It will be the same across industries. I don’t think many people know what the next five years will look like. It’s a little like the Wild West at the moment, but it’s definitely exciting. There’s an opportunity to use AI for the benefit of society as a whole and hopefully that’s what materialises.
How should we prepare for the future of work? Does AI have a role to play in this?
The challenge comes from universities. AI will overhaul of how we work, so the genie is already out of the bottle in that sense. Universities have to adapt to ensure that graduates and postgraduates are not stuck in a semi-archaic model of exams and memorising information because those skills aren’t really applicable to the 2023 corporate world or world of working. Encouraging creative thinking would be better.
You can extrapolate that into the corporate learning space where there has been the same emphasis on memorisation and assessments. That will change in the coming years. The current dynamic with AI is like when Google came on the scene and people had no concept of how to live with instant access to information. With ChatGPT, I can put in a three-sentence prompt and get a piece of work in a few seconds that might otherwise take a person a couple of days to put together. AI is the big question hanging over academia and work. I’ve been to plenty of AI talks and I’ve heard nothing in terms of a silver-bullet solution. People are feeling their way around all that at the moment.
From your experience, what are the current trends in learning?
The education space moves fast so companies ought to always be innovating. If you’re not, you’re in trouble. That’s why R&D is so important in any modern organisation and AI is going to be a big part of that. Away from AI, there’s going to be massive emphasis on human skills – things like creativity, agility, and building your digital brand. A recent study from the World Economic Forum pinpointed creativity and agility as the two of the most important skills for the workforce of the future. Indeed, Intuition has a library of content called Workplace Now which covers a lot of that. There are other small trends to look out for. Some folks are doing exciting things that with Microsoft Teams, with microlearning courses delivered directly via their messaging apps.
What are the biggest skills challenges to your business or sector?
It’s ironic that the biggest opportunity, AI, is also the biggest challenge. The issue with using AI to free up time for more creative pursuits is that not everybody is creatively inclined. In that environment, AI probably represents a threat to roles held less-creative individuals. That’s why there has to be serious conversations around ringfencing tech to ensure it’s not cannibalising jobs. There are upsides and downsides and they’re probably not equal. ChatGPT is a powerful and productive platform but if it’s costing people jobs, there needs to be more regulation. It’s a complicated situation. We need clever people getting around the table and mapping out a clear picture for the long term.
What are your favourite tools and resources in work?
HubSpot is the engine that drives the marketing team at Intuition. That’s a tool that has hundreds of other tools hanging off it. We also use ChatGPT, a voiceover AI engine called Eleven Labs for our marketing videos, and Canva for our design. Canva is great because it puts design in the hands of people who aren’t designers. I’d very much count myself as one of those. It saves us a lot of time and money as we no longer have to bring in designers or ask for resources. We can very much do it ourselves.
Any interesting podcasts or other media do you consume that you would recommend on learning, technology or business?
How I Built This with Guy Raz. The host brings on CEOs to discuss their career. If they started their company, it’s often about their personal history and the beginnings of the company. If they were drafted in, it’s about their journey and how they set about growing the company.
I also listen to David McWilliams Podcast and Making Sense with Sam Harris, which is not strictly business but offers a unique perspective on the world.
Why is membership of Learnovate important to your company?
Between SMEs and some of the larger organisations, the EdTech space in Dublin and Ireland is really exciting at the moment. Learnovate does a great job of bringing those people together, to collaborate and speak about the goings-on in the industry. Even just having conversations around what your competitors and people in academia are doing is really important. Overall, it gives a forum to likeminded individuals in the EdTech space.
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